Himalayan Travelogue Part 1 – A beginning

Posted: January 4, 2011 in Himalayan Travelogue
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If you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured, it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won, or lasting happiness achieved.
Maurice Chevalier

In 1924 George Leigh Mallory, a British climber, was asked why climb Mount Everest, he famously quipped, “because it’s there.”  So is Mallory, he never returned from that climb and it is believed that his body was found in 1999.  Mount Everest is the biggest mountain on earth, at least above the ocean, and also the most coveted to climb.  It isn’t however the most difficult to climb, at least not from a technical climbing perspective, but Sagarmatha as the Nepalese call her is the biggest hill on earth.  Something about that fact has always drawn people, me included, to her slopes.  Now, I’m not a climber, I didn’t go to the Himalayas to climb Everest, only to step on the base of her slopes at a little over 17,700 feet, and even more exciting to me, the idea of walking on the Khumbu Ice Fall.

The idea had always been in the back of my mind but it wasn’t until I stumbled onto a website for a trekking company that I truly thought about actually doing it.  Of course, like most of these things, when would I ever have the time and the money to take that trip?  Well that time came last year, after over a year and a half of planning I finally was in a position to take 8 months off of work.  I had put away the money to cover my expenses for that time and come up with a plan.  That plan including a trek to the base camp of Mount Everest.  Now the really nutty thing about this plan was not only am I not a climber, I also had never done a multi-day hike and I’d only been over 12,000 feet once outside of Lhasa, Tibet.  Now here I was planning 22 days in the Himalayas with a goal of over 17,000 feet.  Oh and just to make it exciting, I can’t take the medicine (Diamox) that most people take to help prevent them from getting altitude sickness.  Needless to say the mention of the plan either frightened or was totally blown off by the people close to me, truly, I couldn’t be stupid enough to actually be doing this.

Those same thoughts had crossed my mind as well, but I was taking 8 months off and the best time to trek in the Himalayas is November, so it would be near the end of my time off.  So being the logical creature that I am, I decided I’d use the first part of my time off to get fit and ready for Everest.  My plan was simple, start hiking a lot before May when my time off would begin.  Then start to progressively get ready for the big hills so of course I would start in Scotland, with no mountain over 4,000 feet.  There was some logic to this trip, I planned to hike the Great Glenn Way over a 6 day period, my first multi-day hike, 73 miles.  Next I would spend time in Utah and really start to stretch myself out and get ready.   I am fortunate enough to have an aunt who has a house near Bryce Canyon National Park and that would be my home base.  For three months I would hike in the park, live at 6600 feet and spend as much time as possible above 8000 feet and some time above 10,000 feet on Bryan Head.

Piece of cake right, first of course I’d drive across country, visit my brother and friends in Texas, dig for diamonds in Arkansas (didn’t find any), visit family and friends in the East and head for Ireland and Scotland for the month of June.  Ride a bike around Ireland, hike the Great Glenn Way and then land back in Utah by July.  Over the next few weeks I will take you across Scotland, up into Bryce Canyon and then into Nepal and up the big hills of the Himalayas, I hope you enjoy the trip.

Directional Sign to the Great Glenn Way

You can find out more about the Great Glenn Way at the link below:

http://www.greatglenway.com/

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